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According to ‘Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019’ report: Kanpur ranked 1 as the most polluted city
The quality of air in Varanasi, Prime Minister Modi’s 2014 Lok Sabha constituency, is positioned 3rd on the WHO’s (World Health Organisation) list of 15 most polluted cities in the world, by the ‘Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019’ report, released by Climate Trends. Kanpur (in Uttar Pradesh) is the most polluted city in the world and is positioned 1 on the list.
i. The air quality index (AQI) in Varanasi reached a warning 490 (notified as ‘severe’) in 2017 and 384 (notified as ‘very poor’) in December 2018.
ii. 14 of the 15 most polluted cities in the world (mentioned by World Health Organisation (WHO) are in India. Out of them, 4 are in Uttar Pradesh.
iii. WHO’s report states that Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a rise in the number of people suffering from allergies and respiratory problems due to huge amount of construction in the city.
iv. Faridabad in Haryana is in 2nd position after Kanpur, whereas Delhi is ranked 6th on the list. Other than these, the list of the most polluted cities according to WHO include Gaya and Patna in Bihar, Lucknow, Cities of Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur.
(AQI) Air Quality Index ratings in India:
As per pollution control authorities, An AQI between
- 0 and 50 is considered “good”
- 51 and 100 “satisfactory”
- 101 and 200 “moderate”
- 201 and 300 “poor”
- 301 and 400 “very poor”
- 401 and 500 “severe”
India and the Netherlands agreed to improve the bilateral cooperation in various fields
On 12th April 2019, India was agreed to improve the bilateral cooperation with the Netherlands in various fields, including political, economic scientific and cultural cooperation during the Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi.
i. A. Gitesh Sarma, the Secretary (West) in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) led The Indian delegation and Johanna (Yoka) Brandt, Secretary General in Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led the Dutch delegation.
ii. They exchanged views on regional and multilateral issues, including cooperation at the United Nations and other international fora.
iii. At the 25th edition of the CII-DST Tech Summit which will be held in New Delhi in October 2019, Netherlands will participate as the partner country.
About The Netherlands
♦ Capital: Amsterdam
♦ Prime minister: Mark Rutte
PCI urges media to do objective reporting on polls
On 9th April, 2019, PCI (Press Council of India) has issued some guidelines for media to do objective reporting on election polls and warned it against the practice of paid news.
i. As per the guidelines, newspapers are not expected to indulge in unhealthy election campaigns, reports about candidate or party during the election period.
ii. PCI has warned media to publish false statements unverified allegations associated with personal character and conduct of any candidate.
Election Commission invokes Article 324 to defer PM Modi biopic
India’s Electoral Commission has issued an order to ban display of any biopic or publicity material during Manual Code of Conduct, which could sub serve the purposes of any political entity or any individual entity connected to it.
i. The ban was concerned with the biopic film on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
ii. Election Commission has invoked powers under Article 324 that prohibits display/exhibit any biopic/publicity material when Model Code of Conduct is in force.
BANKING & FINANCE
Banks close FY19 with 13.24% credit growth, deposits up 10.03%
According to the data of Reserve Bank of India, which was released on 11th April, 2019, bank credit rose 13.24% to Rs 97.67 lakh crore for the fortnight to March 29.
i.This is the second consecutive robust credit growth after the same had declined to 4.54 percent in FY17 at Rs 78.41 lakh crore, which was the lowest since 5 decades.
ii.Deposits have grown by 10.03 percent to Rs 125.72 lakh crore during the same period.
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai (Maharashtra)
HDFC Bank ranked No. 1 in India by the survey of Forbes
On 12th April 2019, as per the first edition of Forbes World’s Best Bank survey, HDFC Bank has been recognized as number 1 bank by customers in India.
i. The research was done with the help of market research firm ‘Statista’. Forbes partnered with this firm to measure the best banks in 23 countries.
ii. The survey was based on the customer’s satisfaction as well as 5 key attributes of trust, terms and conditions, customer service, digital service, and financial advice.
iii. ICICI Bank took the second spot and DBS bank grabbed the third position, followed by Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank which are at the fourth and fifth spot. Also, the public sector banks like Syndicate Bank, PNB, Allahabad Bank, Vijaya Bank, and Axis Bank were in the top 10.
About HDFC Bank
♦ CEO: Aditya Puri
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: August 1994, India
SBI signs its first ever co-origination loan agreement with PAISALO Digital Limited
With the profound vision of empowering the ‘Agri’, ‘MSME segment’ and small businesses, PAISALO Digital Limited signed the first co-origination loan agreement (designed at Rs.10,000 to 2 lakh) with State Bank of India (SBI). The company expects to pay out 200,000 loan applications in FY20.Co-origination loan agreement:
i. The objective of this framework is to bring the 2 sectors, namely, banks and Micro-Finance Institutions (MFIs)/Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) together.
ii .Under this framework, with all other structures put in place, both a bank and an MFI/NBFC will join at each underwriting and loan level and share the loan amount at a mutually agreed percentage.
iii. This in turn would increase the flow of credit to MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and also, substantially bring down the cost of credit for the sector.
iv. PAISALO Digital Limited is a leading systemically important non-deposit taking NBFC, registered with the Reserve Bank of India and is in operations since 1992.
- Founded by Sunil Agarwal, PAISALO’s main objective is on small finances to ensure rural development, self-employment, and women-empowerment.
- PAISALO Digital has AUM (Assets Under Management) of over 2000 crore and a net worth of Rs. 671.9 crore. Its business operations are in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Bihar.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
IMO launches new rules on electronic information exchange
IMO (International Maritime Organisation) has mandated a new rule for national governments to launch electronic information exchange between ships and ports. This mandatory requirement came into effect from April 8, 2019 is part of a package of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016.
i. The main motive of the rule is to make cross-border trade simpler and to make efficient logistics chain for more than ten billion tonnes of goods traded globally every year.
ii. The new Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) is set to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information related to maritime transport.
Hong Kong surpasses Japan to be world’s 3rd biggest Stock Market
Stock market of Hong Kong has surpassed Japan to become the world’s third most valuable market. Now Hong Kong’s stock market is behind the US and China.
i. Hong Kong’s market value stood at $5.78 trillion, surpassing Japan’s market value at $5.76 trillion tally for the first time since 2015.
ii. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index has increased by 17 percent this year. Topix Index of Japan advanced at 8.3 percent in this period.
TCS Paired with Google to build industry-specific cloud solutions
On 10th April 2019, Indian IT consulting company, Tata Consultancy Services collaborated with Google Cloud to build industry-specific cloud solutions. These Cloud solutions will support organisations speed up their digital transformation and leverage data-driven insights.
i. TCS’ solutions on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) will support enterprises build secure, cloud-native analytics platforms that facilitate high levels of personalization, easy to maintain, and are cost effective.
ii. Currently, Data and Analytics Estate Modernization solutions of TCS are available on GCP.
iii. TCS is a partner of Google Anthos, which is a cloud platform that allows the users to run applications on the public cloud or on existing on-premise hardware investments.
About Tata Consultancy Services:
♦ Founded: 1968
♦ Headquarters : Mumbai
♦ Founders: Faquir Chand Kohli, J.R.D. Tata, Tata Sons
♦ CEO: Rajesh Gopinathan
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Chief of the General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC), Alice G. Vaidyan, honoured with the Freedom of the City of London
On 11th April 2019, The Chairman and Managing Director of the General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC), Alice G. Vaidyan has been honoured with the Freedom of the City of London for the recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK.
i. On the event of first India-UK Insurance Summit in London, she was nominated for the traditional honour by the Lord Mayor of London, Peter Estlin, and City of London Corporation Policy Chair Catherine McGuinness.
ii. The event was the precursor of the Global InsurTech Summit in Mumbai, which will be held later in the year.
iii.The Freedom of the City of London is an honour bestowed by City of London Corporation to the individuals who make an impact in the financial hub of London, referred to as the City or the Square Mile.
About General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC)
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 22nd November 1972
Indonesian Nuraeni Named Best Athletic Coach In Asia 2019
On 10th April 2019, Asian Athletic Association (AAA) has declared Indonesian Eni Nuraeni as the best athletic coach in Asia for the short-haul run category in 2019. It was published by the Indonesian Athletic Sports Association (PB PASI).
i. Eni instructs young sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri to win the 100m gold medal in 10.20 seconds in the 2019 Grand Prix Malaysia Open athletics championships.
ii. Zohri is a gold medal winner in 100m in 10.18 in the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland in 2018.
iii. He also gained the gold medal in 10.27 in the Asian Junior Championships in Gifu, Japan.
About Asian Athletic Association (AAA:
♦ Headquarters : Singapore
♦ President: DahlanJumaan al-Hamad
PM Narendra Modi conferred with Russia’s highest State Honour
On 11th April, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with the “Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle”, by Russia for exceptional services in promoting bilateral ties.
i. Narendra Modi was awarded with this award for his exceptional services to enhance privileged strategic partnership between Russia and India.
ii. The award is the highest civilian honor of the Russian Federation which was established by Czar Peter I of Russia in the 17th century.
♦ Capital: Moscow
♦ Currency: Russian Rubel
♦ PM: Dmitry Medvedev
♦ President: Vladimir Putin
“Utkarsh Bangla” and “Sabooj Sathi” gets global recognition on winning the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)
The schemes under the West Bengal government, namely, “Utkarsh Bangla” (Skill training of the youth) and “Sabooj Sathi” (cycles for students) have won the distinguished World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awards of the United Nations (UN).
“Utkarsh Bangla” got the topmost award in Capacity Building category while “Sabooj Sathi” was positioned in the 1st 5 as a champion project under ICT application: E-Government category, out of a total of 1062 nominations in 18 categories.
About the Utkarsh Bangla scheme:
i. The aim of this scheme is to give vocational training to school dropouts by providing 400 to 1200 hours of training free of any charge, thus providing impetus to increase employment opportunities for the young generation.
ii. The beneficiaries of the scheme are trained in driving, tailoring, repairing television and other electronic equipments, beautician courses etc and on completion of the course they would be given respective certificates.
iii. The syllabus for courses under this scheme has been made in the same level as the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework.
About the Sabooj Sathi Scheme:
This scheme, launched in September 2015 aimed at the distribution of environment-friendly bicycles to students of class IX to XII studying in government run and government aided schools and madrashas. The budget for this scheme was an estimated 40 lakh. The objective of the scheme was to empower the students, especially the girl students and to reduce drop outs in higher education.
World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS):
WSIS is a global multi-stakeholder platform helping in the implementation of the WSIS Action Lines for improving sustainable development. The summit is organized and co-partnered by ITU (International Telecommunications Union), UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), UNDP (The United Nations Development Programme) and UNCTAD (The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development) in close collaboration with other UN organizations. It provides opportunities for knowledge creation and sharing, information exchange with the emerging global trends and aids to foster relationships.
Sudhanshu Kumar, the founder of Digital Sukoon won the “Best Digital Agency Award”
On 10th April 2019, Sudhanshu Kumar, the founder of Digital Sukoon has been honored with the Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Nobel Award by International Human Rights Council at Hotel Sea Princess Juhu Mumbai.
i. While his agency Digital Sukoon, named as the Best Digital Agency of the Year 2019.
ii. Digital Sukoon is a Mumbai based Digital solutions agency, which provides a comprehensive 360-degree solution to their clients for the promotional needs by creating innovative campaigns and optimum usage of technology tools.
iii. This agency was successful in creating interest around the films with the help of appropriate modern technology – like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Algorithm, Analytics and at the same time, it also helps to make the films to get the top spot in IMDb’s list of most anticipated films and show.
♦ Capital: Mumbai
♦ Governor: Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ National park: Chandoli National Park, Gugamal National Park, Nawegaon National Park, Tadoba National Park.
Telugu poet K Siva Reddy honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018
On 11th April 2019, Telugu poet K Siva Reddy has been honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman, 2018 with a cash prize of 15 lakh rupees for his collection of poetry titled ‘Pakkaki Ottigilite’.
i. He was born in 1943 in Karmurivari Palem near Tenali, Andhra Pradesh.
ii. He has won several awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book ‘Mohana! Oh, Mohana!’.
iii. The Saraswati Samman award was given annually for an outstanding literary work written in any 22 Indian languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. It is one of the highest literary awards, instituted by the KK Birla Foundation in 1991.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Governor: S. L. Narasimhan
♦ Chief Minister: Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Dance forms: Kuchipudi,burrakatha, veerannatyam, butlabommalu, Dappu, Tappet gullu, Lambadi, Bonalu, Dhimsa, kolattam
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Gargi Kaul designated as new Secretary, Defence Finance
On 9th April 2019, Gargi Kaul, a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS) was appointed as the secretary, Defence Finance as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle. The senior bureaucrat, Kaul currently serving as Financial Advisor (Defence Services), Ministry of Defence.
Other Appointments :
- Sumeet Jerath – Special Secretary, Cabinet Secretariat.
- Raj Kumar Goyal – Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor, Ministry of External Affairs.
- Prem Kumar Kataria – Additional Secretary, Ministry of Textiles.
- Anil Kumar Jha – Additional Secretary, Department of Revenue.
- S K G Rahate – Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power.
- Rajesh Kumar Chaturvedi – Additional Secretary & Financial Advisor, Ministry of Culture.
- Amitabh Kumar – Director General (Shipping), Ministry of Shipping.
About Gargi Kaul:
♦ She has been a Director at Air India Limited since May 6, 2015.
♦ She works as a Director of Pawan Hans Limited.
♦ She employed as Nominee Director of Delhi International Airport Private Limited until July 24, 2018.
♦ Kaul worked as a Government Nominee Director of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd since December 27, 2017, until 2019.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
A new technique “dual PWS” developed by the researchers to study the movement of cells
On 12th April 2019, a new technique named dual-PWS, has been developed by the researchers to study the movement of cells without using labels or dyes.
i. It also disclosed an undiscovered phenomenon that may play a role in the earliest stages of cell death.
ii. The study was published in the journal named Nature Communications and the paper is named as ‘Multimodal interference-based imaging of nanoscale structure and macromolecular motion uncovers UV induced cellular paroxysm’.
iii. The new technique is a label-free and can image and measure macromolecular motion without using dyes.
SpaceX carries out first commercial launch with Falcon Heavy rocket
On 11th April, 2019, SpaceX carried out its first commercial operational mission by launching its Falcon Heavy rocket to place a Saudi telecoms satellite into orbit operated by Arabsat.
i. The Saudi telecoms shiny silver satellite was successfully deployed after lift-off of about 34 minutes from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
ii. The satellite is designed to provide television, internet, telephone, and secure communications to customers in the Middle East.
First Ever Image of a Black Hole captured by the Astronomers
On 10th April 2019, Astronomers Captured the First Image of a Black Hole which was a halo of dust and gas, tracing the outline of a colossal black hole at the center of the galaxy M87 (Messier 87) with the help of The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) observations.
i.Black holes were first predicted by Einstein’s theory of relativity and these are the extreme cosmic objects, containing incredible amounts of mass within a tiny region.
ii.The galaxy is 55 million light-years away from Earth.
iii.This telescope is made of up eight independent observatories and acts as one enormous detector. It collected the data for the first black hole image in April 2017 but it took two years for scientists to assemble the images.
iv. The detail observations of black hole published in the Journal named Astrophysical Journal.
Scientists have discovered “Homo luzonensis”, a previously unknown species of humans in Philippines
The archaeologists unearthed the remains of at least 2 adults and 1 juvenile (a species of Homo luzonensis) within the archaeological deposits in the Philippines. Researchers from Australian National University (ANU) thus proclaimed the findings to prove that the region of Southeast Asia played a major role in hominin evolutionary history. This discovery has been published in Nature, an International journal of science.
i.The fossil had adult fingers, toe bones and teeth (very small as compared to modern human) intact. A child’s femur had also been recovered. The bones of the hand and feet are similar to an Australopithecine. The Australopithecines inhabited Africa about 2 million years ago and are considered to be the ancestors of the Homo group that includes modern humans.
ii. The miniature size of the bones suggest that these ancient humans were less than 4 feet tall.
iii.The new species, Homo luzonensis is named after Luzon Island (the largest island in the country). This is where, at the Callao Cave, fossils older than 50,000 years were discovered.
iv. Hominins that were alive 50,000 years ago included our species, Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, both from Europe and western Asia, the Denisovans in Siberia, and the miniature Homo floresiensis – nicknamed as ‘hobbits’ – were discovered in Indonesia in 2004.
v. Stone tools used prior to 200,000 years have also been unearthed on the Sulawesi island.
Indian women’s Hockey team won Malaysia series by 4-0
On 11th April, 2019, Indian women’s hockey team defeated Malaysia by a solitary goal and won by 4-0 in the 5-match bilateral series held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
i. India won with the help of Navjot Kaur’s fine field goal in the 35th minute with a good defensive display.
ii. In the 5-match bilateral series, India won by 3-0, 5-0, draw 4-4 and win the last two matches 1-0 respectively.
About India Women Hockey Team
♦ Nickname: Nabhvarna
♦ Captain: Rani Rampal
♦ Coach: Sjoerd Marijne
BOOKS & AUTHORS
A booklet of the ‘Selected speeches of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly’ released by Prasar Bharati Chairman, A Surya Prakash
On 12th April 2019, a booklet of the ‘Selected speeches of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly’ was released by Prasar Bharati Chairman, A Surya Prakash to mark 128th birth anniversary of Dr B R Ambedkar (April 14), at an event in New Delhi.
i. It was organized to commemorate the contributions of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb Ambedkar, for the upliftment of underprivileged in the country.
ii. Babasaheb Ambedkar was an Indian jurist, economist, politician, social reformer and the architect of the Constitution of India. He was also the independent India’s first law minister.
World Aviation and Cosmonautics Day celebrated on April 12, 2019
World Aviation and Cosmonautics Day, a date to honour the first ever flight of a human in space.On April 12,1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin carried out the famous flight in spacecraft Vostok 1 started from Baikonur Cosmodrome.
i. In November 1968, the 61st General Conference of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI), known as the World Air sports Federation, decided to celebrate World Aviation and Cosmonautics Day on April 12.
ii. Many countries organize a Yuri’s Night on April 12. The first Yuri’s Night was celebrated on the 40th anniversary of the first manned flight into space in 2001.
iii. The celebration points to promote public interest in space exploration.
About Federation Aeronautique Internationale (FAI):
♦ Founded : 1905
♦ President: Robert Henderson
♦ Mission Statement : “FAI – the organization for the promotion of air sports and recreational flying”.
♦ Vision Statement : “A world where safe participation in air sports and recreational flying is available to everyone at reasonable cost”
The International Day of Human Space Flight is observed on April 12
On 12 April 2019, The International Day of Human Space Flight was observed across the world. The day marks the anniversary of the first ever human space flight undertaken by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen on April 12, 1961. This day is also celebrated as ‘Cosmonautics Day’ in Russia since 1963.
i. Gagarin’s Vostok 1 space flight executed one orbit around the Earth over 108 minutes and the spacecraft was propelled by Vostok-K launch vehicle.
ii. The day was initiated in 2011 by United Nations through resolution, A/RES/65/271.
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